by Tommy Lawlor
A couple of years ago Shawne Merriman was among the best players in all of the NFL. How times have changed. He missed virtually the entire 2008 season. This year he played in 14 games, but wasn’t much of an impact player at all. Shawne had 26 solo tackles and 4 sacks.
In Merriman’s first 3 years he averaged 62 solo tackles and 13 sacks a year. He had 15 pass deflections, an INT, and 8 forced fumbles. He was a disruptive force that offenses had to account for on every snap. Will we ever see that guy again?
I watched Merriman closely in several games this year. He simply doesn’t have the explosive burst that we saw several years ago. He still plays hard. You don’t see any lack of effort. Merriman is an effective power rusher. He can be tough to block when he plays with good leverage. He has some pass rush moves, but without much of a burst they aren’t as effective.
Merriman is a restricted free agent. I can’t see anyone giving up picks to get him. If he was unrestricted I’m sure some team would take a run at him, hoping that Merriman would be better now that he’s not coming off a major injury. 2010 will be a key season for Shawne. He needs to get his career going in the right direction.